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Road closures off the table

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] will not close State Highway 2 [SH2] for Featherston’s Anzac Day parade, preventing the traditional march from Anzac Hall to the War Memorial on Fox St.

South Wairarapa mayor Martin Connelly said Tuesday’s non-closure is because the council cannot afford to pay for SH2 traffic management.

The service will go ahead,
but it will be stationary in front of the Fox St War Memorial.

Featherston RSA president Peter Jackson said he wants to work with SWDC so that
road closures at future Anzac services will be formally
and routinely budgeted for.

But the mayor said future funding is unlikely.

“Since traffic management plans cost thousands of dollars, the answer is probably no.” Connelly said SWDC has to pay Waka Kotahi for traffic control on SH2 and that the cost has become exorbitant in recent years.

He said the recent 80th-anniversary commemoration of the Featherston Incident at the prisoner-of-war camp cost $6000, and the road was not even closed.

“Council has to weigh these costs against other activities and obligations,” Connelly said.

“If we ran traffic management for all four Anzac Day events, we wouldn’t have any money for any other civic events for the rest of the year.”

He said SWDC will still pay for traffic management on SH2 in Greytown because of a long-standing commitment made by the previous mayor Alex Beijen.

“Due to the costs involved, this will almost certainly be the last time this ever happens [in Greytown],” Connelly said.

Jackson said he is “pretty disappointed” by the council’s decision.

“I’ve been urging them to reconsider, but they are adamant they can’t afford it,” he said.

Jackson said cars driving past will change how the service is delivered and that a sound engineer with a powerful PA system is being brought in to offset the traffic noise.

He said it was traditional for many years to march from Anzac Hall to the War Memorial on Fox St, allowing veterans to march past the cenotaph and salute those soldiers who had died.

“Frankly, not closing the road has denied a fairly big part of the commemoration,” Jackson said.

“I’m disappointed; I’d like to see a reconsideration of that position.

“The mayor’s recent statement gives me no confidence that he is entertaining that idea.”

Despite the disagreement, Jackson said he is still grateful for council sponsorship and said he is still willingly working with SWDC on the organisation of the event.

“I am conscious that the RSA doesn’t want to seem ungrateful, but I think SWDC has gone too far to save money for what should be a national day of commemoration that should be appropriately recognised,” Jackson said.

“It’s not about traffic or council; it’s about commemoration – I’d hate for this to distract from the essence of what the day is all about.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Forgive me SWDC but what does it cost to erect detour signs and barrier arms for half an hour at the very most? Once a year? Surely New Zealanders with all their GPS’s and other clutter have the where – with-all to take an alternate route and not get lost in Featherston?

  2. Sad but to be expected. Local govt is fully of leftists who respect nothing but their bed wetting bureaucracy.

  3. It’s all about the money, no respect for any thing or anyone these days it’s all about me, me me and companies on the money train.
    Where is the New Zealand from days gone by where sometimes you do things just to help out and a thank you was enough

Comments are closed.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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